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Resources 2015, 4(2), 277-322; doi:10.3390/resources4020277

Biodiversity of Food Species of the Solanaceae Family: A Preliminary Taxonomic Inventory of Subfamily Solanoideae

Novel Solanaceae Crops Project, Penzance TR20 8XD, UK
Academic Editor: Yong-Bi Fu
Received: 31 December 2014 / Revised: 14 April 2015 / Accepted: 20 April 2015 / Published: 12 May 2015

Abstract

Over the last fifty years there has been a continual reduction in horticultural and agricultural biodiversity of nutritionally important plants, including those of the Solanaceae family. To add to this, the broad range of traditional crops, previously grown on a sustainable scale in some parts of the world, has been replaced by a narrow range of major crops grown as large-scale monocultures. In order to counteract this trend, and to help maintain a broad wealth of genetic resources, conservation is essential. This, in turn, helps to safeguard food security. A taxonomic inventory, covering the diversity of species in a plant group, is an important first step in conservation. The Solanaceae is one of the major plant families providing food species. A survey of the biodiversity, ethnobotany and taxonomy of subfamily Solanoideae was undertaken and is presented here as an inventory of food species. Fifteen genera provide species that are utilised for food across the world. Of these, only four genera contain economically significant cultivated food cropspecies. The majority of these are in the genus Solanum, whilst Capsicum, Physalis and Lycium contribute the remainder of cultivated crop species. These genera and others also comprise species that are semi-cultivated, tolerated as useful weeds, or gathered from the wild. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity; cultivated; edible species; semi-cultivated; Solanaceae; wild species biodiversity; cultivated; edible species; semi-cultivated; Solanaceae; wild species
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Samuels, J. Biodiversity of Food Species of the Solanaceae Family: A Preliminary Taxonomic Inventory of Subfamily Solanoideae. Resources 2015, 4, 277-322.

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